A panel of three papers:
Forging New Learning Pathways in HigherEd: Reflections on "Connected Courses" & "Writing Electronic Literature"
I propose a 15-20 minute talk in which I consider both the power and the challenge of open networks and connected learning. In addition I will reflect on what new digital literacies are required of learners in this day and age. How are the new affordances of a digital connected age a “game changer” for HigherEd?
In particular, I will discuss my role as both learner and facilitator in the Connected Courses MOOC. Connected Courses is a collaborative community of faculty in higher education developing networked, open courses that embody the principles of connected learning and the values of the open web. In this talk I will highlight what worked, and what did not go as expected. My discussion will offer some overall “lessons taken” from creating an open learning course about opening up learning experiences. In particular, I will address the power of co-learning in transforming a learning environment, and I will share anecdotes and key “light bulb” moments in my own learning pathway through the Connected Courses experience.
As a second part of my discussion, I will account for a particular version of a “Connected Course” – my own Writing Electronic Literature class. Throughout this course students received an overview of established and emerging forms of Electronic Literature including hypertext fiction, network fiction, interactive works, and digital poetry. Students read, analyzed, and composed a variety of emerging genres of Electronic Literature. Simultaneously, students contributed to a transmodal generative novel (“The Generative Literature Project”) which will be published in late 2015 by the academic journal Hybrid Pedagogy. Within the innovative context of this particular connected course, what best practices were key to the success of this class? In addition, how did our overall reconsideration of reading and writing (in a 21st century digitized context) shape our discovery of new ways to learn? How might new approaches to reading and writing lead us to new pathways for learning in the 21st century?
Reimagining Research through Cartooning and Intergenerational Learning
Imagine sitting at a table covered with candy, crayons, colored pencils, coloring pages, and drawing paper. Your right hand holds a black pen and begins to draw what you hear as someone else reads what they wrote - just seconds ago - about sedimentation build-up. After finishing your drawing, you write a question underneath it. This drawing-question juxtaposition transforms how you think about each individually. Juxtaposition plays with the visual nature of scholarly inquiry, opening other dimensions for creativity in research. In other words, making little comics guides scholarly exploration.
Traditional notions of inquiry and problem solving seldom recognize artistic practices, like cartooning, as viable modes for research and scholarly pursuits. Artistic and imaginative processes of inquiry occur amongst the researcher, her tools, and objects of study (LaTour, 2004; Myers, 2011). However, this creativeness is often excluded from research design and methods. This, in part, stems from an assumption that research must be rigorous and measurable, and also that creating art (broadly defined) is incompatible with academic inquiry.
This presentation shares insight from the design and facilitation of an ongoing graduate course supporting scholarly inquiry through cartooning and intergenerational learning. The course’s purpose is twofold: by cartooning and by working with children, graduate students from various disciplines and program stages can re-imagine dynamic embodied relationships with questioning and then extend their research as multifaceted, complex, and hand-drawn images. This arts-based and intergenerational design renders as well as studies how to respond to playful forms of scholarly inquiry and expressions of expertise. Facilitated by an arts-based laboratory located at a major research university, this research project asks: How might practices like cartooning and working with children as co-researchers inform imaginative processes of inquiry? Specifically, this project examines the non-verbal, artistic, and imaginative processes of inquiry in rendering research and scholarship.
Graduate students work in two different settings - the university’s arts-based lab and early childhood centers. They work with pre-k children as co-researchers to explore shared questioning through playing, drawing, storytelling, and close listening. The course participants also document, synthesize, and explore their work with children in relation to research and scholarship. Throughout the semester, students work in a variety of collective ways to make a handmade research project, proposal, or scholarly paper that includes original visual images.
Researchers facilitate the seminar sessions and observe graduate students in the early childhood centers. Data collection and analysis draws upon - literally and figuratively - the course’s weekly seminars, audio-visual recordings, field notes, interviews, and cartooning as a way to “play with” emerging analytic themes.
Conclusions suggest that by inciting particular practices such as cartooning and working with children as co-researchers sway tendencies in blending research and scholarship with imaginative guesswork. Project findings also reveal an emergence of unconventional spatio-temporal relations between participants and their scholarly work. These momentary shifts open up other valuable possibilities for research and scholarship. This artistic playfulness shows how to synthesize tacit, non-verbal processes of inquiry with so-called formal methods of research and scholarship.
Developing DH Pedagogy: Incorporating a Student Perspective
Erica Hayes and Ariadne Rehbein
As digital humanities gains popularity and attention for its creative approaches to scholarly production, digital humanities classes have become more common across a range of disciplines, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. DH practitioners are increasingly sharing their experiences teaching digital humanities methods and tools, but little formal research has been done on pedagogical methods for this particular field.
In "Digital Humanities Pedagogy," Brett Hirsch discusses his analysis of the Blackwell "Companion to Digital Humanities" anthology: “Out of a corpus of 297,399 words, ‘research’ occurs 504 times.” The word “learners” occurs 3 times, while “learner” occurs once; “student(s)” is nonexistent. Digital humanities is a comparatively young field; its continued evolution depends upon the development of effective pedagogy, and incorporating student perspectives is critical to that process.
At this crucial juncture, it is important to examine several questions: What does the developing DH curriculum look like and how do its learning objectives express the values of the DH community and its learners? How does the focus on research affect the teaching of DH? How can faculty take student perspectives into consideration and better develop their pedagogy practice in a field that is still growing? Most importantly, how do we teach the methodologies of digital humanities in a way that empowers students to think creatively about their research and scholarship?
Our research examines how DH is taught and learned across departments and institutions. Interviews with DH instructors provided a framework for understanding the DH curriculum, while student surveys provided insight into how DH classes are experienced from a learner’s perspective. We hope the results of our research will help open the dialogue between students and faculty, providing a platform for sharing practical tips for improving DH pedagogy and curriculum development.